The latest major project in QE’s ambitious estate strategy – The Friends’ Recital Hall and Music Rooms – was officially opened at a gala festival in May 2022.
Originally conceived in 2017, the long-term plans for the multi-million-pound building were brought forward in 2019 when the Department for Education accepted QE’s £2.2m bid for the project. As a result, with support from The Friends’ of Queen Elizabeth’s (FQE), the School has been able to offer a host of additional facilities to our young musicians even sooner than expected.
The purpose-built complex now provides essential support for our booming Music department – there are currently more than 20 ensembles at the School, while over 160 boys sing in the Choir! The Music building features a new performance venue (The Friends’ Recital Hall) and a number of much-needed teaching and rehearsal rooms (The Friends’ Music Rooms). These are significantly larger than our previous facilities and are fully equipped to the very latest standards.
In addition, the two-storey building provides additional assembly space to accommodate our lecture programme, as well as a covered atrium (The Mayes Atrium) housing a café and providing space for boys to use at break times.
The DfE package included a £1.2m grant and a £1m loan. The success of the application to the Government would not have been possible without substantial financial support from FQE. Further FQE support, including via the Giving to QE scheme, was vital in completing the building and equipping it to a high standard.
The Friends’ Recital Hall and Music Rooms are the latest significant development in a carefully planned estates strategy that has transformed the fabric of Queen Elizabeth’s School since the mid-1990s, enabling us to provide a truly inspirational learning environment for our boys.
Major developments have included: the technologically advanced Martin Swimming Pool; the large, multi-purpose Shearly Hall, and the extensive complex opened in 2014 at the heart of the campus that includes The Queen’s Library, the Dining Hall, Café 1573 and a Food Technology Suite.
The durable, high-quality architecture of the new Music building complements the modern, attractive design of these earlier projects.
In addition to the fabric of the building, the project has included the purchase of high-quality instruments to support the boys’ learning and their performance opportunities – a new Yamaha CF6 grand piano, as well as new upright pianos. These were funded by the Foundation Trustees and the activities around virtual Founder’s Day 2021, respectively.
Our video explains the School’s partnership with Coach House Pianos and includes a preview of the instruments being played in The Friends’ Recital Hall and Music Rooms prior to the official opening of the new building in May 2022.
Following the completion of The Friends’ Recital Hall and Music Rooms, the School has now announced plans for its next significant project – a 104-seat theatre for drama and the spoken word, to be named the Robert Dudley Studio.
- Within the Festival programme (below) you can see a timeline of the project and its milestones.